Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Six-Year Old Discusses Making Babies and the Importance of Nutrition

I made a teensie weensie mistake.

I have been doing theatre and improv for a very long time. You guys know this. So what's the first rule of improv? Say yes!!

As we were driving over to Grandma's house, Antonio was trying to talk to Daniel about Lord of The Rings. 

Daniel said, "That is about the man who tries to get his dog to poop!"

And I said, "Yes!"

And Antonio sighed.

And I laughed.

And then we all talked about how funny Lord of the Rings Legos is because it is Legos with poop. 

Well, Daniel and I talked about how funny it was.

Antonio just sighed.

When we picked up Daniel from Grandma DeAnne's house after going to our Love and Logic parenting class-(a class I highly recommend)--I remembered another HILARIOUS moment where I had said yes and I should have said no.

We were at Lagoon on Monday and Daniel said, "You are going to have a baby!"

And I immediately said, "Yes!"

And laughed..

And Antonio.... sighed.

And I said, "And your other mommy is going to have a baby too!"

Because she is. And we all smiled and it was happy. Because he's 6 and it is fun to say yes.

But then I realized that he might tell his Grandma DeAnne that I was going to have a baby...

So I told her about my mistake.

And on the car ride home, I told him that I had said yes and I was wrong.

I told him that some day we might have a baby. But having babies is a very difficult thing and that I would be very happy if our family stayed just the same and that I was very happy with a cute little boy like him.

And then he said, "I want a baby sister!"

And I smiled and Antonio sighed.

And then Daniel said, "You should eat healthy every day so you can have a baby!"

And I asked, "Why?"

And he said, "Because that's how babies grow! You eat lots of healthy food and it breaks down in your tummy and grows into skin and bones and makes a baby. And you get fatter and fatter until you have a baby! So you need to eat lots every day!"

And I said, "You need to eat healthy too! What happens to the healthy food in your tummy? Will it turn into a baby too?"

And he said, "No!" (As though that was the most ridiculous thing in the world.)

And I said, "Where does the nutrition go then?"

And he said, "It will make my butt grow! And my weenie!"

And then Antonio finally let a little laugh out, but not too much because we were hanging on to every word.

And I said, "Is it important to exercise?"

And Daniel said, "Yes! Because it makes me strong! But not you! You cannot exercise."

And I said, "Why not?"

And Daniel said, "Because you have to get fatter to have a baby!"

And I said, "What if I went on a nice relaxing walk with Atticus?"

And Daniel said, "That would be okay!"

And I said, "What if mommy and daddy exercised together?"

And Antonio whispered, "Yes, what if we exercised together?"

And Daniel said, "That would be good!"

So to recap.

We are not having a baby.

I say yes too much.

Good nutrition is good for growing things.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

First Memorial Day. Spectacularly Busy Weekend.

For those of you who suffer from the ups and downs of depression--you get it. You know that you make it work on those days where you've got energy, because the energy will end and you'll crash.

This weekend--I crashed.

I crashed because I needed to. I can't help it. I go go go when I am going. If I could reel in the go a little--I probably wouldn't crash... but I am not always good at that.

We had a VERY busy weekend.

 Friday night, Antonio's oldest son Jaxon came to visit. The boys were so excited to spend the night in their new room--that little boys who usually are asleep by 8:30pm were up until 11 pm.

It was hilarious how many tactics we used to try to get them to go to sleep. We tried putting them to sleep to Planet Earth on Netflix. We tried singing "Everything is Awesome" in the slowest possible way to lull them to sleep. We tried leaving them alone. We tried switching beds. We switched beds 4 times at least. We tried snacks, drinks, confessionals, snuggles, prayers, and story time.

We took shifts telling them to close their eyes and go to sleep.

Finally, at 10:30--I went into their room, sat on the floor with the big scriptures and read slowly, quietly, verse after verse. I knew that they wouldn't talk if I was in there. I was hoping they would float off to sleep. After reading for 15 minutes, I got up to leave. As soon as I turned the corner, I heard Jaxon's voice whisper, "Daniel!"


So I went back in and sat there until they finally konked out.

The next morning, Jaxon was up at 5:45am. He slept in!

Antonio works on Saturdays, so I was in charge of enjoying the morning with the boys. We took the dog out for a walk and went to a wedding! I took tons of pictures for my step-sister Michelle's wedding. The boys played well for about an hour--then we took off.

After a good lunch, Antonio came home and we went to the Library where we met authors and the boys favorite characters from books and video games. They were so excited to meet Link!

Then we played on the playground because I got claustrophobic.

Then we went to McDonald's and ate dinner while the boys continued to play on the playground there. God bless the McDonald's playground. And their little gogurts and apple slices.

After that, we came home and Grandma DeAnne was there to surprise us with some really fun treats and to visit with her grandsons.

That night, Daniel fell asleep very quickly.

Sunday we went to church as a family for the first time ever. That was wonderful. And hilarious. We're a liberal leaning family in a conservative religion. It's going to be interesting. But we believe in each other and we felt the kindness and the friendliness of the people at church. There were a couple of comments in relief society that I was very offended by--but I couldn't think of anything to say at the time. I thought of things yesterday. I decided yesterday to yell out F bombs the next time a woman starts to describe horrible violence in order to forward her political agenda.  If she asks why I am trying to offend and horrify her, I'll just reply--"Oh I'm sorry! I thought that's what we were doing today."

The best part of church was seeing Daniel hug two of his teachers, and enjoying a wonderful discussion in Gospel Principles with kind people.

Sunday afternoon, we cooked a big meal and then I vegged out on frosted Mother's cookies for the rest of the day.

My ambition came to a grinding halt. I laid around playing video games, watching Harry Potter and being super duper lazy.

Monday morning, I awoke to the destruction that was Sunday's laziness.

I pulled myself up, poured Daniel a bowl of cereal and decided to take things 100 seconds at a time.

I just counted to 100. Whatever I could accomplish in 100 seconds would be enough.

During that first 100 seconds, I felt my energy and motivation returning. So I added another 100 seconds.

I thought about how I needed to teach Daniel about Memorial Day.

So I gathered him into the lounge chair and we looked at pictures of grandparents who had passed away while we listened to patriotic songs.

I showed him a picture of his grandma as a baby from a picture that Antonio had restored.

Me: "That's a picture of your grandma!"

Daniel: "Is she dead too?!!"

I realized my mistake in teaching him that Memorial Day was a time to remember those who died and then showing him a picture of his living grandmother.

He started to cry.

I assured him that she was alive. Later, we enjoyed a beautiful lunch with her in order to prove to Daniel that she was alive.

I showed him pictures of my Grandpa Jon who died flying the F104 in Germany in 1962. I told him that when I married his dad--that he gained a famous grandfather who flied jets and that he could tell his friends about his Great Grandpa Jon.  Later, we went to visit Grandma JoAnn and he sweetly told her thank you for her husband's sacrifice.

We went to the Veteran's Memorial Park and he said a quiet thank you at each of the memorials to the different branches of the military. When we saw a veteran come to the memorial to pay his respects to his fallen friends, Daniel walked up and told him, "Thank you." He was a very nice man with a cute little boy who enjoyed petting Atticus.

After a busy morning, we went to Lagoon with my little brother Nick. We rode as many rides as we could. The place was so busy. The sunshine, the laughter, Daniel's crazy energy, and just enjoying the frantic and fun rides left me feeling exhilarated and full of energy.

After we left Lagoon, Nick and I met up with my dad John to watch Pitch Perfect 2, while Antonio brought a sleepy Daniel home and put him to bed.

And this morning, I'm at work. Utterly exhausted from a ridiculously long and full weekend.

Crikey. This blog was ridiculously long.

Note to self. Stop being so busy!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Look at the End of Mad Men

I watched the last episode of Mad Men yesterday.

I kept replaying the episodes over and over in my mind, looking for meanings, hidden or overt.

The show didn't go out with an explosion or a grand death.

It simply passed away, like any other decade. The 60s faded away and the characters moved forward. Onward in their pursuits and endeavors, with the same strategies they had used in the previous years.

The most revealing moments about Don's self was perhaps in his interactions with the young conman in Kansas. He says to the young man, "You think this town is bad now! Wait until you can never come back."  What does that mean??? He reveals himself as a conman. He sees himself as a conman. In each decade, he takes on the incarnation of the perfect man of the decade. He is the embodiment of each decade's virtues and flaws. And we embrace his long con, because he thrills us with his ability to play the part we only wish we could play ourselves.

Roger Sterling is the ultimate patsy of the con. He looks to Don to con him and to help him feel his life's pursuits are as exotic and exhilarating as he had hoped. But he grows beyond the con and we see him laugh contentedly with a woman whose age, passions, and foibles match his own.

Sterling is the man we believe we're trying to be if we see eye to eye with Don. But we're deluding ourselves if we think the story can really be viewed from Don Draper's perspective. We're observers of Don's story--but never participators. We can interpret Don's ways with the rest of the characters--but we'll never really have his inside eye. If anything, our perspective matches up best with Roger Sterling. Naive, optimistic, happily delusional about our own flaws and our future.

Peggy believes in her work. She believes in the message. She is the ultimate disciple. She traded in Catholicism for Madison Avenue. She embraces love because it is the ultimate assurance that her life's choices were not actually a complete waste of time. Which is why I didn't quite buy it. And if you're honest with yourself, neither did you. It didn't quite sit well. It was like watching a really sappy commercial. The product? The choice to choose work over all other pursuits in life. I wish she would have gone to Paris.

Joan's evolution is perhaps the most obvious. She is offered everything she ever wanted ten years ago, and very astutely rejects it in order to choose a path that will be more fulfilling. Her work is not a means to an end. Her work is the end. Men will come and go. She revels in the satisfaction of doing things well. This is something she's done from the very start. The biggest change is her ability to enjoy her preference.

At the end of the episode, we see Don's face shift. The song plays. We wonder at the change. I found it fake and disconcerting. I found his change inauthentic because of the man I had come to know throughout the 60s.

Then it hit me, he is literally changing into the ultimate man of the 70s. He is altering his con to adhere to the needs of a new decade. He is not the cold, aloof, calculating man of the 60s. He is the vulnerable, open, spiritually ready man of the 70s. His values are no longer Madison Avenue. They will evolve through the leisure suits and the tumutuous economies of the 70s. He will inspire the men stuck in the rising tides of the 60s to embrace self reflection and to ride the chaos. He will continue to be a man of that decade. As the 60s came to a close, we anticipated the end of his influence. We felt his age. We felt his energy slip and we felt the world moving forward without him.

And then it switched. He didn't fall prey to the machinations of the spiritual retreat. He embraced the machinations of the spiritual retreat and evolved his long con.

And voila! He was no longer old and irrelevant. He was a man of a new decade. Unrecognizable in comparison to the man we saw in 1960.

New decade, new Don.

So is he really a con man? Or is he just really good at being what the world needs him to be? Are we all con men? Is it easier to embrace the maxims of the day-admit that we're loving it and head to McDonald's and taste the sensation of the cola of our choice?  Where does real honesty lie? Is it a problem to find our way happily through life's obstacles by embracing the slogans of our time? Is it any more truthful to cling to past incarnations of ourselves, long after the trials of youth have passed?

The show passed softly, smoothly, from one decade to another. Will we? How will we move through time?

Oh sweet magical box. TV has been a medium of greatness for storytellers this past decade. Hopefully that tradition of greatness will continue for years to come.

Thank Matthew Weiner. Well done.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Monday Night Madness

Last night, I was feeling a little energetic.

A little ambitious.

I might have overplanned the evening a bit.

But I was so excited!!

We made playdough!!

He wouldn't hold still.

I made him glasses.

Well, I started stirring the playdough and realized that it was going to be very hard to stir and called Antonio in to finish it for me.

So he stood strongly at the pan and stirred the playdough until it was done cooking on low heat.

Before he did that though--he rescued me from my lack of preparation. You need cream of tartar for playdough. But I didn't realize we didn't have any until it was too late. So he just put twice the amount of vinegar in it--and it worked out perfectly! Because my husband is a genius!!

While he slaved over the stove--AFTER making us dinner first--I took on the daunting task of giving Atticus her bath.

Atticus doesn't know she's about to have a bath. That's why she's smiling.

She hates baths.

HATES them.

I generally wait until we just can't wait any longer--than I use it as an opportunity to mop the bathroom floor since the whole bathroom floor becomes a mess of water during the washing process.

The doggie forgave me for her bath and huddled onto her doggie bed while we created sculptures with playdough.

Daniel disappeared into our room for a moment before we put him to bed.

You'll note she is NOT smiling at me.

When we walked back into our room, we found Atticus huddled under a blankie. Daniel had sweetly covered her. I asked him why he had done that and he said, "Because she was cold!" I said, "You like taking care of your doggie. You do a good job." He said, "I love Atticus."

It was a good night.

Squishy selfies before bed.

After everyone was snuggled in bed--Atticus on her bed and Daniel in his bed, Antonio and I settled in and played Super Mario Brothers on the Wii.

It was awesome.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was Monday Night Madness.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Becoming a Parent

Becoming a mom has been very fun. This kid is hilarious. This morning, we ate eggs and an apple. And of course, chocolate milk. 

 Last week, he got into the office supplies upstairs and decorated himself accordingly.

He came down to my office while I was working to show off his handiwork. 

 Here he is busy at work at his desk. He created two vampires using staples, scissors, paper, and markers. I told him, "That's so neat!" He replied, "And CREATIVE!"

Yesterday, we went to Copperton and played on their beautiful park. He figured out how to swing across the rings. He's getting stronger every day. 

He is stubborn, adventurous, challenging, mischievous, and he's always thinking and creating. 

He's always going. 

I don't know how stay-at-home parents do it. Daniel goes to daycare in the morning and then to kindergarten. After school, his dad picks him up. Afternoons and evenings are fun and busy. I really enjoy my time in the office though. It helps me recharge before taking on the non-stop adventure of parenting. 

Yesterday, I was with him all day. We had a lot of fun. I really enjoyed being with him all day, but I can't imagine being home all the time. 

Antonio is a really great parent. I learn from him. And Daniel feels loved. 

I just feel happy. It seems like everything is going really well. I also feel a certain respect for my friends who parent full-time from home. Kudos to you. This working mama is happy for the team of people who help keep this boy challenged and growing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Wedding Post

 We got married.

It was wonderful!

Getting married requires a community. And over and over again, the community surrounds you, lifts you up and supports you into this beautiful new station. It is a communal feast of love and support. I'm trying to hold on to that love in a little book so we can look back on it and read the words of love that we read on that day. 

We got married on a budget. 

A very small budget.

But we had so many friends support us and love us. 

The kitchen bustled with lovely friends, generously serving our guests. 

The cakes were gifted to us from friends and family members who made each cake lovingly from scratch. 

The flowers were assembled by a dear friend. 

The table runners were sewn by hand by my sweet maid of honor.

She also made all the bowties, kerchiefs, and skirts for the ladies.

She lovingly put together the quilt with her daughter, mother, and then we tied it with my loved ones at the Bridal Shower. 

Musical friends sang and played at the reception, donating their gifts to our guests. 

Family members and friends assembled tables and chairs, ironed tablecloths, and helped warm delicious food. 

A dear friend snapped photos for us all night long. 

Family members and friends visited from places as far away as the Upper Peninsula in Michigan and North Carolina. 

Loved ones filled our tables with beautiful cards and gifts. 

Grandmothers chased happy little boys. 

Friends washed dish after dish after dish. 

I can't even begin to know how to express my gratitude. I'm overwhelmed. 

We are overwhelmed. 

You loved us into a family.

This is the groundwork on which we will build our future. 

We stand on a foundation of love, kindness, generosity, and more love. 

Thank you.